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Tips on cooking with cornflour or cornstarch

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Did you know that you can substitute flour with cornflour in sauces to give you a lighter sauce? And that it makes deep-fried food lighter, crispier and more golden? 

– Use half the amount of cornflour to flour in the sauce: if the recipe calls for one tablespoon of flour, use 1/2 tablespoon of cornflour and 1/2 tablespoon of flour. Cornflour cooks out of the sauce more quickly and because it is finer and lighter, it is less likely to make the sauce lumpy. Cornflour is a thickening agent so don’t use too much or your sauce will become too thick.

– When you use cornflour to thicken a sauce or stew, first make a ‘slurry’ by mixing cornflour and cold water together until the mixture is the consistency of single cream. Add a little hot broth to the slurry and pour this mixture into the sauce or stew. Turn the heat up so the sauce or the liquid in the stew is simmering to cook the cornflour and whisk or stir to make it smooth.

– Cornflour is used to coat chicken and fish in Chinese cooking to protect the delicate flesh when stir-frying. Place the cornflour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and add any dried herbs, mixed spices or ground Sichuan pepper if the recipe calls for them. Dust the meat or fish on both sides with the cornflour and fry as per your recipe.

– Deep-frying chicken or fish? Coat the fish in half flour and half cornflour to give you a crispier coating and a better colour.

– When you are making a fruit tart, mix a spoon of cornflour with the fruit in a bowl before you use it to fill the tart. It soaks up the fruit juices and stops the tart getting a ‘soggy bottom’.

 

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